Best All-in-One PC for Music Production | Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch

best all in one pc for music production

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Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch

8.7

Build Quality

8.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Acessibility

8.0/10

Support

8.5/10

I remember owning my first all-in-one PC. There was something about the experience that attracted me (probably the convenience). The Apple iMac may pop into your mind, but other manufacturers have also begun producing their own all-in-one solution. We’ll be looking at the best all-in-one PC for music production and it may actually be better than Apple’s.

Finding the best all-in-one PC for music production wasn’t as easy. To be honest, I had difficulty finding anything that supported Thunderbolt 3. It seems like the all-in-one market for PC is already too specific, but the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch has everything else you could ever need. If the absence of Thunderbolt 3 ports isn’t an issue for you, then you’ll definitely be interested in what it has to offer. We’ll be looking at its specifications and studying them to better understand their value for musicians.

An overview of the best all-in-one PC for music production

When comparing the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch to Apple’s closest alternative (in terms of price), I was seriously impressed. The performance far exceeded anything Apple could provide in the same bracket and its got some additional features.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is perfect for almost every musician!

Here’s what you’ve got under the hood:

  • 1.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U (overclock up to 4.2 GHz)
  • 12GB of DDR4-2666 SDRAM
  • SATA-III 1TB 5400 RPM
  • 256GB of PCIe-based SSD
  • Intel Graphics UHD 620

If you’ve been looking at any of the other computers I’ve been recommending, the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is actually pretty atypical. One of the main differences is the fact that includes both an internal HDD and SSD (more on this later).

Another peculiarity is the 12GB of RAM (instead of 16GB).

I have no idea why they’ve done this, but it’s still plenty for most musicians.

Other than that, the real highlight is the 10th generation processor. It’s not something I usually recommend (because it’s too powerful), but it’d be foolish to pass up the opportunity at this price range (it’s what surprised me the most).

I also think the connections are abundant on this all-in-one PC:

  • 3x USB 3.1 (gen 1)
  • 1x USB 3.1 (gen 2)
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x SD Card Reader
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x Ethernet

I’m just disappointed that Dell has omitted the all-important Thunderbolt 3 port (not the same as USB-C). It’s not like they haven’t included it in their laptops (like the Dell XPS 15) and the Dell XPS 27 (now discontinued) even had one.

Just so you know, the XPS 27 was in fact an all-in-one PC.

If you can find one used, I highly recommend the XPS 27 over the Inspiron 23.8-ich.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is the best all-in-one PC for music production because of its features

One of the main differences between the Apple iMac and the Dell Inspiron 23.8-ich is the touchscreen. In my experience, working with touchscreens has always provided some additional functionality at times (not always though).

When it comes to music production, I’d obviously rather work with mouse/keyboard.

However, subtle tasks like navigating your DAW and webpages can be facilitated by using touchscreens (especially considering how big this one is). In other words, there’s a significant difference when working with 23.8-inch displays vs smaller (like tablets).

Another feature that could be of interest to some music producers is the integrated FHD camera.

I’m mainly talking about musicians who communicate with clients through video chat.

Lastly, I also wanted to talk about the integrated stereo speakers. Of course, they’ll never be capable of replacing an actual pair of studio monitor speakers, but they’re pretty decent. I used to reference mixes on my iMac’s speakers just to know what it sounded like.

Having an additional option for mixing and mastering at your disposal (other than speakers and headphones) can bring out certain weaknesses that would’ve gone unnoticed.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is the best all-in-one PC for music production because of its 10th generation processor

I usually recommend working with 9th generation processors because to be honest, 10th generation processors are too powerful for most music producers. It can’t hurt to have more performance than you need though.

It’s difficult to pass up the offer considering that the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is actually one of the most affordable pre-built/stock PCs with that kind of firepower.

Now, you may think that the processor itself isn’t that great because of the 1.6 GHz clock speed. However, you must know by now that clock speed actually has very little to do with performance. More specifically, it has very little to do with single-core performance.

I talk more about this in my FREE ebook, but here’s the gist of it… 

Single-core performance is the most important benchmark for music production. The current generation processors always perform better than the previous generation in that respect.

To understand better, I recommend that you check out the i5-10210U’s performance on this benchmark and compare it to other CPUs. For example, you can compare it to the one I’m currently rockin’ (the Intel Core i3-8100B) and you’ll see how powerful it truly is.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is powerful enough to handle the needs of 99% of musicians and probably even the 1%. My only concern would be RAM for those of you using sample libraries almost exclusively.

Sadly, the RAM isn’t upgradeable/configurable unless you go with a different model.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is the best all-in-one PC for music production because of its advanced storage capabilities

Of course, I wouldn’t be recommending any computers that didn’t include an SSD. As of 2020, I firmly believe that using an internal HDD would only negatively impact your entire system’s performance (it’s the only mechanical component).

The difference with SSDs (if you aren’t already aware) is that they’re completely digital.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is pretty special though. It actually has both an internal SSD and an internal HDD. 256GB of SSD is more than enough to install your software/applications, but the 1GB HDD is great for storing sample libraries, projects, presets, etc… 

I usually work the exact same way, EXCEPT that I use my HDD externally.

In other words, the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch can potentially save you this expense. It all depends on how you prefer working, but I think it’s an excellent way to save some money and potentially even make things more efficient.

However, the only disadvantage with the HDD in the Inspiron 23.8-inch is the RPM. Normally, I don’t recommend working with anything under 7200 RPM. Most sample libraries will usually recommend that, but 5400 RPM can still work (especially internally).

The only thing that would be affected is the load time, not the actual performance.

At this price though, you can easily implement external storage without regret.

The best all-in-one PC for music production is the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch

It seems like the all-in-one market for PC is beginning to flourish, but certain elements still need some more consideration. It seems like these types of computers aren’t particularly catering to music production, but then again, it’s what you make of it.

The Dell Inspiron 23.8-ich has better specifications than anything else I’ve ever worked with.

I would’ve really appreciated Thunderbolt 3 support, but perhaps manufacturers like Dell weren’t getting enough demand for that. As I mentioned earlier, one of their discontinued models (XPS 27) included one Thunderbolt 3 port, so check it out.

It’s still possible to find them used/refurbished. I’d go with that!

However, the Inspiron 23.8-inch has its advantages as well. Can it truly replace the Apple iMac though? I think it could, but I personally need that Thunderbolt support though.

It’s actually the main reason why I switched over to Apple computers, but not the only one.

I’m really starting to see Windows-based computers differently now, but the adoption of such technologies is essential for professionals in the music industry. It’s starting to happen, but we need to demand it or these manufacturers may eventually let it go.

Either way, I think the Dell Inspiron 23.8-ich is still the best all-in-one PC for music production (at least for the moment).

If you asked me though, I’d personally consider Mini PCs instead (read more about that here)

On that note, I’ll be leaving you with some products to check out. Make sure to make your comparisons using the benchmark tools I’ve provided and I encourage you to do some of your own research as well. Don’t just take my word for it!

Let me know what you found in the comments.

If you were looking for the best all-in-one PC for music production, I think you’ll be more than satisfied with the Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch. In terms of performance, it’s got more than what most musicians need and it’s even got some pretty useful features (that aren’t present in the Apple iMac). If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of computers for music production, you can grab yourself a FREE copy of my ebook. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your time!

Sources:

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-10210U+%40+1.60GHz&id=3542

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4 Responses

  1. Hi, 

    Thanks for your informative article. The ins and outs of digital music production can be a big deal.  What software to use, plug-ins, hardware, latency, all these issues affect our decisions.  Many professionals are on the Macintosh platform since the Mac handles audio and latency issues smoothly. This DELL all-in-one is however quite impressive! Very sleek, definitely has the cool factor. The specs look more than sufficient but the proof in as they say “in the pudding”. You gotta get everything setup and test your mics, monitors (audio), latency and playback. You must test recording track by track or live. Thanks for your article it definitely looks like this DELL just might be a player.

    Thanks,

    Jim
    My KETO Lifestyle™

    1. Hey Jim!

      I think you understand how difficult it can be to find the right computer for the job. I think it’s even more difficult to find an equivalent to the corresponding Apple computer. Finding the best all-in-one for music production was quite difficult, especially since the Dell XPS 27 was discontinued.

      I would still personally go with the iMac 21.5-inch, but if the absence of Thunderbolt 3 ports isn’t an issue… The Dell Inspiron 23.8-inch is quite the contender! It’s even easier nowadays because you have the opportunity to try the computer and return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Especially with Amazon!

      However, I believe most musicians will be more than satisfied with the performance.

      If you’re still looking, take a look at my free ebook. It’s perfect for musicians looking for their next professional computer whether it’d be Mac, PC or custom-build.

      Thanks for stopping by, take it easy!

      – Stefan

  2. Hello there, thanks for sharing this awesome article i know it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me. I have been into music production for a short while and i must say having a very good PC would make your journey a lot easier.

    Over time dell has really proven to be a very good manufacture od quality computers and their Inspiron series is one of the best in the world.  for me, I think with the specs of the particular pc it would definitely be a good tool for production.

    1. Hey Ismeglamour,

      I really feel like Dell is the perfect replacement for Apple. It’s just a shame that the all-in-on PC market doesn’t really have much demand for Thunderbolt 3. It doesn’t matter for most musicians though, especially if you’re already used to working with Windows.

      The advantage of going with PC instead of Mac is that you can get more power for less money.

      Just out of curiosity, which computer are you currently working with?

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad the review was useful!

      – Stefan

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